The Lovebirds Movie Review
Originally planned for theatrical release but relegated to Netflix due to a nasty little bug that’s going around, it’s probably best that The Lovebirds never took flight. Horribly written and awkwardly acted, the comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae isn’t without its funny moments, but will likely be turned off early by most unsuspecting audience members.
The second scene, an extended and utterly unfunny sequence that has the onscreen couple bantering back and forth in an increasingly bitter argument that ends in them breaking up, makes it clear that something is off: you can tell that those involved were going for laughs and completely missed the mark.
Most of The Lovebirds involves Nanjiani and Rae talking at one another, their ongoing chatter intended to be funny. But between the cringe-inducing dialogue and their lack of chemistry, the two comedians never had a chance. At times painful but largely just a little dull, the movie, while delivering a baseline level of entertainment value (its 86-minute runtime helps), lurches from one moment to the next without any semblance of awareness that it isn’t nearly as funny as it is supposed to be.
The movie does have a few funny stretches, though, and almost all of them involve physical comedy. Nanjiani and Rae are both funny, expressive individuals, and when given the opportunity to do more than rattle off bad dialogue, they are able to elicit some laughs. Sadly, the marketing team figured this out months earlier and put most of these moments in the trailer.
The Lovebirds isn’t a complete waste, but those looking for a repeat of The Big Sick--the film reunites Nanjiani and director Michael Showlater, but brings in a new writing team--will be sorely disappointed. No one is falling in love with this one.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.